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Toadstool Tote and Rain Bucket Hat 

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Toadstool Tote and Rain Bucket 


Written By: Betz White 




Plastic shoppina baqs (1) 

Ironing board (1) 

in 3 colors: 6-8 white with red from 

• Pencil (1) 
Ruler (1) 

Tarqet, 2-3 brown (1 aot mine from 

Hershev). 1 red or whatever color you 
find attractive with the mix. 

Scissors m 

Parchment paper M) 

Sewinq machine (1) 

15" wide. 

Thread 11) 

Ribbon (1) 

You'll need 26" for the tote. 25" for the 



waterproof craft qlue. 

Templates (1) 

online at 


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Pagel of 16 

Toadstool Tote and Rain Bucket Hat 

The eco-savvy shopper brings her own reusable bags to the store, at least when she 
remembers them. But when life hands you lemons (or wasteful plastic bags), make 
lemonade — or in this case — toadstools! 

The Toadstool Tote and coordinating Rain Bucket Hat are made entirely from plastic 
shopping bags. When layered and heated with an iron, plastic bags fuse together to create a 
durable material similar in feel to Tyvek. Fused plastic can be easily cut and sewn into a 
variety of projects, such as the 2 demonstrated here. 

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Toadstool Tote and Rain Bucket Hat 

Step 1 — Collect and layer your bags, and don't forget to cover your 

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Toadstool Tote and Rain Bucket Hat 


• Each project will use 4 plastic 
shopping bags fused into 1 large 
sheet. To create each project as 
shown, use 3 Target bags and 1 
dark-colored bag, such as a brown 
Hershey's bag. 

• With your hands, smooth out one 
bag at a time onto a work surface. 
Trim off the handles, cutting across 
the top of the bag with scissors. 
Next, trim off 1/4" along the bottom 
of the bag, opening up the pleats. 
Make 1 straight cut from the top 
edge of the bag to the bottom to 
create 1 large, single-layer 
rectangle. Repeat with the other 3 

• Layer all 4 bags, one on top of 
another. I placed the brown bag on 
the bottom and layered the print 
bags on top, arranging the Target 
prints to create an all-over pattern. 

# Cover your ironing board with a 
sheet of parchment paper a few 
inches longer than your stack of 
cut plastic bags, about 42" long. 
Place the layered plastic bags on 
top, then cover them with another 
sheet of parchment. The bags will 
probably be a few inches wider 
than the parchment, so be sure to 
keep the plastic completely 
sandwiched between the paper 
when you're fusing it, by 
repositioning them both as needed. 

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Toadstool Tote and Rain Bucket Hat 

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Toadstool Tote and Rain Bucket Hat 

Step 2 — Iron your bags to fuse the materials. 

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Toadstool Tote and Rain Bucket Hat 

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• Before getting started, be sure your 
workspace is well ventilated. Some 
plastics may give off an odor, 
although I haven't experienced a 
problem with this. Set your iron on 
the synthetics setting. Making sure 
not to touch the hot iron directly to 
the plastic, slowly iron on top of the 
parchment paper. Keep the iron 
moving. As the plastic layers begin 
to fuse together, they'll shrink a bit. 
Be aware that any ink from the 
bags will transfer to the paper. 

• I recommend reading 
through this step and then 
practicing on a few extra bags first. 
Experiment with the number of 
layers and iron temperatures, as 
this is not an exact science and 
your results will vary. 

• After ironing one area, let it cool 
before lifting the paper. Check to 
see if the layers have started to 
melt together. You may want to 
increase the iron's temperature if 
you find that the plastic isn't fusing. 
Reposition the parchment paper 
and continue this process until 
you've fused the entire length of 
the stacked layers. 

• Turn the fused plastic sheet over, 
cover with parchment, and repeat 
the fusing process from the other 
side. The layers of your fully fused 
plastic should feel like 1 piece. The 
trick is to go slowly — an iron 

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Toadstool Tote and Rain Bucket Hat 

that's too hot will result in fast- 
shrinking plastic that's rippled. 
Once fused, your plastic sheet 
should measure about 14"x36", big 
enough to make either the 
Toadstool Tote or the Rain Bucket 

# To create the tote appliques 
as shown, you'll also need 

to fuse a small amount of red 
plastic for the toadstool stems. 

• Stitching fused plastic with a 
machine is fairly easy, as long as 
the plastic hasn't become too thick 
or hard. Use a universal needle and 
a stitch length of 3^k Practice 
stitching on a few scraps and 
adjust your machine's tension if 
necessary to achieve even 
stitches. Straight pins can be used 
to hold your work, but if you find 
that the plastic is too difficult to pin 
through, try using paper clips. 

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Toadstool Tote and Rain Bucket Hat 

Step 3 — Designing your toadstool tote, make the body of your bag. 

• Appliques, such as these little 
toadstools, are quick and fun to do 
with fused plastic. Plastic shapes 
fuse easily to this tote, and there 
are no edges to unravel. Ribbon 
trim and a little stitching give it a 
clean, finished look. 

• Using a ruler, mark a rectangle on 
your fused bags measuring 
13"x30". Cut it out with scissors. 

• Place the rectangle, right (brown) 
side up, onto your work surface. 
Starting at one of the short ends, 
fold up a 2" hem toward the right 
side. Make a crease with your 
fingers, then pin the hem. Topstitch 
1 " from the edge. Repeat for the 
other short end of the rectangle. 

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Page 9 of 16 

Toadstool Tote and Rain Bucket Hat 

Step 4 — Cut and fuse your appliques. 

• Using the templates provided 
online, trace and cut the large and 
small toadstool tops out of a scrap 
of Target-print fused plastic and the 
toadstool stems out of a second 
color (like the red I used). 

• Place the applique shapes onto the 
right side of the large rectangle, 
about 4" below the top of the 
hemmed edge. Cover with 
parchment paper and fuse into 
place. Keep the iron moving! 

• Do not overheat, as this 
may cause additional 

Step 5 — Stitch your appliques. 

x^e3 „& 



'• &N 

• To add grass below the toadstools, 
randomly straight-stitch forward 
and in reverse, pivoting at the top 
and bottom of the blades of grass. 

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Page 10 of 16 

Toadstool Tote and Rain Bucket Hat 

Step 6 — Seam the sides and add the box corners. 

• Fold the rectangle, right sides 
together, matching hemmed edges 
at the top. Pin the sides and 
straight-stitch, using a 1/4" seam 
allowance, from top to fold. With a 
pen, mark the bottom fold near 
each corner to designate the 
bottom of the bag. 

• Adding "box corners" gives the bag 
dimension by adding a seam 
perpendicular to both the side 
seam and the bottom fold. With the 
bag inside out, align one side seam 
with the mark made on the bottom 
fold, creating a point at the corner. 
Measure 2" from the corner, mark 
a line perpendicular to the side 
seam, and pin in place. Sew on this 
line, creating a triangle. Trim the 
triangle off after stitching. Repeat 
for the second corner. 

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Page 11 of 16 

Toadstool Tote and Rain Bucket Hat 

Step 7 — Topstitch the ribbon. 

• Turn the bag right side out. Place 
your ribbon along the edge of the 
opening's hem, covering the stitch 
line, and pin. Topstitch 1 edge of 
the ribbon all the way around the 
bag. Repeat for the other edge. 

Step 8 — Create straps. 

1 Cut 2 straps, measuring 2"x13" 
each, from the remaining scraps. 
Fold 1 strap in thirds, lengthwise. 
Pin and topstitch the length of the 
strap 1" from each edge. Repeat 
for the second strap. 

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Toadstool Tote and Rain Bucket Hat 

Step 9 — Stitch on the straps. 

• Measure and mark your strap 
placement on the front of your bag, 
3" in from each side seam. Pin 
each end of 1 strap to these marks, 
overlapping the inside edge of the 
bag 1/2". Repeat for the second 
strap on the back of the bag, taking 
care not to twist the straps. 

• Topstitch the top edge of the bag, 
stitching through each strap end to 
secure it. For extra reinforcement, 
stitch across the strap ends a 
second time. You're done! 

Step 10 — Cut out pattern pieces for your rain bucket hat. 

• Back in the day of beauty parlor 
hairdos, ladies would keep plastic 
rain hats (or worse, a plastic bag!) 
in their pocketbooks should they 
encounter an unexpected 
downpour. Now you can keep your 
'do dry and stylish with plastic 
bags — fused and stitched into this 
sassy Rain Bucket Hat! 

• Using the pattern online, cut out 1 
hat top, 2 hat sides (each cut on a 
fold), and 2 brims (each cut on a 
fold), from a large sheet of fused 

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Toadstool Tote and Rain Bucket Hat 

Step 11 — Sew the sides together. 

• Place the 2 hat sides right sides 
together, and seam the ends using 
a 1/4" seam allowance. Press open 
the seam allowances with your 
fingers, and topstitch them open on 
either side of the seam line. Repeat 
for the second seam. 

Step 12 — Join the top to the sides. 

» Fold the hat top in half and mark 
the halfway points with pins. With 
right sides together, align these 
pins with the side seams of the 
sewn hat sides, along the top edge. 
Distribute the material evenly, 
pinning the top edge of the hat 
sides to the hat top. Stitch using a 
1/4" seam allowance. 

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Toadstool Tote and Rain Bucket Hat 

Step 13 — Sew the brim, then join the brim to the sides. 

• Place the 2 brim pieces right sides 
together, and sew the ends using a 
1/4" seam allowance. Finger-press 
open the seam allowances and 
topstitch them open on either side 
of the seam line. Repeat for the 
second seam. 

• Fold a 1/4" hem around the 
perimeter of the brim. Pin and 
topstitch 1" from the fold. 

• With right sides together, align the 
side seams of the hat sides with 
the seams of the brim. Distribute 
the material evenly, pinning the 
bottom edge of the hat sides to the 
inside curve of the brim. Stitch 
using a 1/4" seam allowance. 

• Flip the brim down and finger-press 
the seam allowances up toward the 
inside of the hat. Edge-stitch the 
seam allowances to the hat sides, 
1" from the seam. 

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Toadstool Tote and Rain Bucket Hat 

Step 14 — Add a band. 

• Apply waterproof glue around the 
seam where the hat sides meet the 
brim and press a length of ribbon 
(about 25") into place to create a 
hatband. Allow the glue to dry. 

This project first appeared in CRAFT VOLUME 09 . pages 40-45. 

st generated on 2012-10-31 11:22:18 AM. 

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